This is one of the perennial questions in the Estate Agency business – with many vendors deciding to “sit tight” during the winter months, with a view to starting their moves in New Year or at the start of Spring. However, this is not always the best decision!
The single most influential factor in pushing prices up within Greater London over the last few years has been the sheer lack of “stock” for buyers to choose from. It’s simply the laws of “supply and demand” in action - with so little property on the market and so many buyers looking, we have seen the advent new (or re-hashed!) marketing techniques – namely the use “Guide Prices” combined with “Open Days”. With Open Days generally attracting 25 – 30 viewers to a property and often “multiple” bids – all agents seem to be able to generate “mini-auctions” for every available property, with the competition to secure the home driving prices upwards.
In this environment, it actually doesn’t make much difference whether you decide to sell now or in the Spring. Admittedly, there are less buyers out there in December than there will be in March, but conversely there are fewer properties available for these buyers to consider currently – you actually may well have more of a “captive audience” right now!
Looking forward to the Spring, there might be five times the number of buyers out every weekend – but rest assured, there will also be five times the numbers of properties available – so the buyer/property ratio will remain relatively static – and it is this indicator which historically determines whether house prices rise or fall.
History demonstrates this clearly – with many properties available and few interested buyers in 1988, the UK housing market crashed in dramatic style – whilst the market from 2000 – 2007 was much more akin to the current conditions.
From a vendor’s perspective, of course, the Spring market will look busier - people’s homes and gardens will look prettier, property prices will surely start rise again and there is more of a “feel good factor” with the promise of the Summer and warmer weather just around the corner but there will also be increased competition in terms of properties on the market, and for most people, achieving a higher price for your own property will also mean paying more for your onward purchase!
Most people will, of course, tend towards the Spring because of the “feel good factor”, but in all honesty with the prevailing market conditions, this isn’t a powerful reason to delay your plans for 2-3 months.
The good news for home owners is simply that with such a strong local market currently that it will support them, whatever they decide!